More of my ‘ghost blogging’ for a leading IT company published today. Contact me for details and access if you need a techie blogger
Diesel fuel is a type of oil, and fracking is all about gas, right? If you want to know why and how fracking could make diesel cars cheaper and cleaner to run you’ll need to buy Diesel Car magazine (or download a PDF here).
I’m not paranoid, nor a conspiracy theorist, but I do like my privacy. I choose what goes on my website and it’s all business stuff, family life is off limits. Big business doesn’t work like that, they want to know as much as possible about everyone because they think it makes it easier to sell things to us. Google is way out in front on this, so I’ve decided to opt out of all things Google, no more Gmail, Google+, Docs, Maps or Play. Read the full story here.
Finished seven 500 word blogs and two shorter ones for an IT company you’ve never heard of, unless you work in corporate IT. Unfortunately they go out under a director’s name, so if you want to know more about that side of my work, contact me.
March edition of Contributoria is out with a piece from me about biofuels.
Working on a piece for Contributoria about the role Biofuels might play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transport, and just discovered they’ve accepted another proposal about escaping from Google’s clutches.
My piece on setting up my ownCloud was published by MicroMart last week. I guess most paying customers have seen it already, so for the rest of you, here it is.
SSL certificates being expensive I discovered that my web host offers a ‘shared SSL’ system. Basically the hosting company pays for secure site on https, sets up pages for it’s customers, then forwards to the customer’s page.
So I got a secure link to my ownCloud free. Setting up was fairly simple, but then I’m a bit of a geek who enjoys fiddling around with anything techie, if you’re not, then stick with Dropbox or similar.
ownCloud has Contacts and Calendar apps that now sync with my (Kubuntu) desktop and Android phone and Tab. The calendar even syncs with my wife’s iPad so she can tell me what I’m doing.
There’s a ‘Docs’ app too that so far only allows you to edit .odt files, which is fine for me because I use LibreOffice on the desktop, but might bug MS users. There are plans to add other ODF formats such as spreadsheets and presentations in due course, and being open source there is a completely open API for developers to create their own apps.
‘The Cloud’ has been the hot new thing for a few years now, the average home user or small business probably has no idea what this means, but if you use for example Dropbox to sync files across several devices, or send large files to other people, then you’re using ‘The Cloud’. Likewise photo sharing sites and off site backup systems. Earlier this month (Dec 2013) IT security expert Graham Cluely blogged:
“Replacing all instances of the word “cloud” with “somebody else’s computer” might make organisations stop and think about the security implications of cloud computing.”
Certainly made me think. And being interested in free open source software I went searching for a ‘cloud’ I could keep under my control. There are several options:
1. Keep all your data on your own machine(s) on your own property (or properties). That is a different kind of risk, I have several machines, but they are all on the same property so a disaster could easily wipe out the lot.
2. Enter into an agreement with a friend to provide each other with off-site backup facility. It’s feasible but PCs on ADSL don’t make great servers, and you have to trust your friend to run a tight ship and not muck about with your data. It would to difficult to use for synchronizing mobile devices.
3. Use space provided by a webhost company. Of course we’re back to trusting “somebody else’s computer” but at least it’s a server you control.
So option 3 it is then. I already have a domain (this one) hosted by Perfect Hosts so I created a sub-domain on it and install OwnCloud, free open source cloud software. In addition to off site storage OwnCloud has the ability to sync calendars, photos and other data across all your devices.
Installation is a breeze, but then I got stopped in my tracks because to keep things secure OwnCloud expects your webserver to offer https (with an ‘s’ for security on the end) and that relies on you having an SSL certificate, which is expensive. Fortunately Perfect Hosts offer the use of a shared certificate free of charge, but it’s Christmas and it’s a small company so I’ll have to wait. More later…
I don’t blog here very often because to be honest I prefer to write for money. However I’ve recently been employed as a ‘ghost blogger’ by a PR company writing a techie blog for the marketing manager of an IT company who’s too busy to write his own. The downside is it goes out with his name on, so not ideal for the portfolio. If you’re an editor, PR or hard-pressed marketing manager looking for a tech blogger, contact me and I’ll give you details privately.